by: Hannah Howe
“If you like psychological detective stories with a touch of humour and romance, you will love Sam Smith.”
The Sam Smith Mystery Series is a character-driven series about Samantha Smith, a woman overcoming the effects of childhood trauma and an abusive ex-husband while trying to make a living as a private detective.
Sam’s Song (Sam Smith Mystery #1)
Love Hurts. For Derwena de Caro, songstress, female icon, teenage dream, success brought drugs, alcohol and a philandering boyfriend. It also brought wealth, fame and a stalker, or so she claimed. And that’s where I came in, to investigate the identity of the stalker, little realising that the trail would lead to murder and a scandal that would make the newspaper headlines for months on end.
Love Hurts. For me, Samantha Smith, Enquiry Agent, love arrived at the end of a fist. First, I had to contend with an alcoholic mother, who took her frustrations out on me throughout my childhood, then my husband, Dan, who regarded domestic violence as an integral part of marriage. But I survived. I obtained a divorce, kept my sense of humour and retained an air of optimism. I established my business and gained the respect of my peers. However, I was not prepared for Dan when he re-entered my life, or for the affection showered on me by Dr Alan Storey, a compassionate and rather handsome psychologist.
Sam’s Song. This is the story of a week that changed my life forever.
Crazy, Fun and Entertaining…
Sam is a Private Detective with a lot of baggage. Others have done well to describe the storyline so I want to focus on content and quality. For me, this was a solid five-star read. The character development is amazing and by the end of the first chapter, the reader has a pretty good idea of just how messed up Sam’s life really is. Add in the constant drama of self-indulgent, sometimes crazy supporting characters that make it difficult to discern fact from fiction, bad guys that you instantly dislike and an ex-husband that needs a good throat punch and you have a novel that you just can’t help but enjoy.
The book is professionally edited with few if any errors, the plot is suspenseful and the overall story is truly engaging. Sam’s Song has it all – suspense, drama and hope. Throughout the novel, the author navigates the reader through a suspenseful investigation while experiencing a rollercoaster ride of humor, frustration, anger and love. For me, the characters made the plot realistic… each character had flaws, which made their story even more genuine and enjoyable. Even lovable, caring Dr. Storey had some baggage he was struggling to overcome. I would definitely recommend it to others and look forward to reading the next book in this series.
- By Melanie P. Smith | Author
Love and Bullets (Sam Smith Mystery #2)
It had been a week since the incident at the abandoned quarry, a week since I’d shot and killed someone, a week since my ex-husband had been murdered. It had been an emotional week. But life goes on. I’d been hired to discover who was sending death threats to Dr Ruth Carey, a controversial psychiatrist. The trail led to two high-powered villains and soon the death threats were aimed at me, threats that increased following two murders.
Meanwhile, after years of domestic violence, I was trying to make sense of my private life. Dr Alan Storey, a prominent psychologist, claimed that he loved me, and I was strongly attracted to him. But the years of domestic abuse had scarred me emotionally and I was reluctant to commit to a relationship.
Love and Bullets is the story of a dramatic week in my life, a week of soul-searching, self-discovery and redemption.
Another Great Mystery…
This book picks up where the first story left off. It’s a week after the events at the quarry and Sam has returned to work. She agrees to accept a man as a client who believes his wife is being threatened. Once again Ms. Howe does a great job on character development. Her client is a nice, likable guy but his wife is a nut. Dr. Ruth Carey is heavy into Eugenics and judges everyone she meets – especially the nosy private investigator her husband hired. Sam finds herself hating her client, but is determined to do her job and solve the mystery anyway.
As much as I enjoyed the story, it was a little harder for me to get into than the first installment. Rather than immediately jumping into the mystery, the beginning of the book is spent recapping events from book one, then Sam and Dr. Alan go on vacation… which gives insight into Sam’s state of mind but delayed the suspense and intrigue for me. All in all, it was a good read and I would highly recommend it. Looking forward to reading the next installment.
- By Melanie P. Smith | Author
The Big Chill (Sam Smith Mystery #3)
“Emergency!” “Christ! Who shot her?” “Don’t know.” “What a mess.” “Better call Dr Warburton.” Bright lights. A sharp, antiseptic smell. Pain. Nausea. Feel so weak. The cat, who’ll feed the cat? “Marlowe.” “She’s babbling.” “She’s lost a lot of blood.” Blackness. “Have we lost her?” I don’t want to die! A jumble of images, my mother, my father, but his face is so vague. “Daddy!” Nothing. A man scowling, with a needle. “I’m going to put you to sleep. You won’t feel a thing. Just count backwards from ten…” “Ten, nine, eight…” Nightmares, very vivid, all too real. So confused. So weak. Distant voices. Laughter. A nurse, smiling, reassuring. Alan, tears in his eyes. “Don’t cry, Alan, don’t cry…” Aching all over. Can’t move my shoulder or my arm. Very tired. More nightmares; too black to dwell on; make them go away… Sweating. Drowning. I catch my breath, like breathing for the first time. Eyes blink awake. Gasping. Try to rise, but head hurts too much. Fall back on to the pillow. I ache all over, but I’m alive! I was alive. But with a snowstorm gripping the city and with an unknown assassin closing in, I faced the most dangerous moment of my life and the very real prospect of feeling the big chill.
Starts strong and keeps on going…
I thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the series. It has a strong and intense beginning with Sam getting shot by an unknown assailant. She, of course, decides to investigate her own case, in spite of outside pressure to let the cops handle it. The novel takes you through several twists and turns before the culprit is finally revealed. One thing I liked about this novel, in particular, is the way the author leads you through the investigation. As in real life, Sam must take the smallest of clues and tug a little to see what falls out. Some lead to new clues, some lead to dead ends. This made the storyline more believable to me and kept things interesting.
I also like the way Alan’s character is developing as the series progresses. We knew Sam had issues from the start and we also knew Alan was a nice, compassionate guy. But as the series progresses the author has constructed a strong male character that is willing to take a step back and support Sam in her career decisions because that’s what she needs to grow stronger. Even when doing so causes stress and concern for him personally. I would definitely recommend this book to others and will be moving onto the next…
- By Melanie P. Smith | Author
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